Newcastle legend Alan Shearer discusses the club takeover
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Newcastle United’s new owners are reportedly considering a move to sell the naming rights to St James’ Park. Previous owner Mike Ashley, who was broadly unpopular in the north-east, did the same thing around a decade ago which prompted a furious reaction from fans.
The Magpies’ new Saudi-led consortium have arrived at the club with big ambitions, although Amanda Staveley and Yasir Al-Rumayyan watched on as Tottenham beat them 3-2 last weekend.
They responded by parting company with Steve Bruce to the delight of most fans, although they are yet to appoint his replacement.
That could be their first major decision, although they are also supposedly weighing up another in selling the naming rights to St James’ Park.
According to Sportsmail, this has already been discussed in the Newcastle boardroom as a potential revenue stream to boost their spending power under Financial Fair Play regulations.
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A Saudi Arabian airline is reportedly one company in the running.
Mercifully for the Toon Army, however, the report also states that they will not sell the rights unless they have the consent of fans.
The owners plan to earn that consent by promising more money to spend in the transfer market, although Ashley’s attempts to go down a similar road did not go well in 2011.
He changed the name of Newcastle’s historic ground to ‘sportsdirect.com @ St James’ Park’, before further re-branding to the Sports Direct Arena two years later.
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Sky Sports claim that fans were left furious at a disrespectful decision which undermined the club’s history.
Ashley later admitted his error, as quoted by The Sun: “I thought it was the right thing to do was to generate as much money as possible for Newcastle.
“When people say to me: ‘Whatever you do on an interview do not talk about changing the name of St James’ Park!’ Well I’m me, and I’m going to talk about making an error, and I should not have changed the name of St James’ Park. I should not have done that.”
In a new twist on Tyneside, the board have placed Graeme Jones in caretaker charge, allegedly for the next two games.
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That is despite a managerial interview in which ex-Roma boss Paulo Fonseca reportedly ‘impressed’ Staveley as the club weigh up their options.
While making the right decision is important, pressing on without a manager or sporting director is delaying the groundwork for January transfer plans.
For the most competitive targets like Ousmane Dembele, this could soon prove a problem, but other names like Frank Lampard, Eddie Howe and Lucien Favre remain under consideration which is clearly taking time.
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